Up The Creek: Adventures In Canine Canoeing Part 4

Kevin Roberts
by Kevin Roberts

All good things must come to an end – and that’s the case of Kevin Roberts and his canoe crew. It’s the last day of their trip, but Kevin sure knows how to finish it with a bang (and a thud).

Day 3: Heading Home

It’s day three, our final day. We point our canoe south and begin the journey back to the car. The sky was red last night, so according to the old adage “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight,” we knew we would be in for a pleasant day of paddling. Eager to start the day off right, I lay some wood in the fire pit and go for a quick swim. The air was cool, but the water was warm. I planned on coming back out of the water and having a nice little fire to warm up to!

After my refreshing dip, I noticed my neat little fire pile was not as I had left it! Belle was happily chewing on one of the sticks, and had scattered the rest around on the bare rock.

I collected the waylaid sticks and re-started the fire. My morning swim had me a mite puckish, so my thoughts turned to food – time to get breakfast started. While I went to get the food out of the cooler, I guess my mind was occupied, because I wasn’t looking where I was going. I slipped on a stick that rolled under my feet and sent me crashing to the bare rock.

Oh, but I didn’t stop there. I hit the rock – hard, I might add – rolled and bounced down the slope… right off the island, and into the lake! I stopped when my knee wretched between two jagged rocks. My back was screaming in pain.

It turns out that I had bruised my knee and slipped a disc. It was a good thing we were planning on going home that day – I do have wonderful timing!

The dogs know the routine. We packed up our camp, and moved things down to the canoe. The dogs all sit with their packs, watching and waiting for their turn to hop into the boat.

Once we were on the water, I had to keep adjusting my leg and back to stop from them from being too sore. Each time I readjusted, it would cause Burger to squirm and cuddle my feet in a new position. We made slow progress back to the portage. With my injuries, I was happy that the dogs were there to help. My husband loaded the canoe on his head, and I loaded up the dogs’ packs, carrying our empty food pack and dirty clothes.

I’m always a little sad when we come to the end of a canoe trip. Each stroke of the paddle takes us farther away from the tranquility of the wilderness and closer to the bustle of civilization. Jobs and responsibilities call us back, at the same time, we feel a tug to return to the primitive.

It is at this moment, that I can imagine what it must be like to be a dog. Our dogs live a domesticated live, enjoy regular meals and trips to the dog park to see friends. But at the same time, I imagine them experiencing the same yearning as I do – that deep-down feeling that’s almost always at the surface, that voice calling them to run and be free!

Did you miss the first three stories in this series? Catch up with Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Kevin Roberts
Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts lives for adventure. Together with his pack of rescue dogs and his husband, he spends as much time outdoors as possible. Kevin lives by the motto: "Get outside and play with your dogs!

More by Kevin Roberts